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Miami-Dade Police Department Public Safety Telecommunicator Selected as the Florida Sheriffs Association 2022 Dispatcher of the Year

The Florida Sheriffs Association is pleased to announce that Police Dispatcher Rebeca Sanchez of the Miami-Dade Police Department has been selected as the 2022 Dispatcher of the Year. Each year, this award is presented at the FSA Winter Conference to an officer who has demonstrated exceptional service in the line of duty. The award is sponsored by L3Harris Technologies.

Police Dispatcher Rebeca Sanchez began her career at the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2004, and is a communications training officer who specializes in training and evaluating new employees in all aspects of the position. During her career, she has earned 23 letters of commendation for professionalism, dedication to duty, teamwork, and effort, and received a nomination for Employee of the Quarter in 2015. She takes pride in her duties where she remains fair and objective, creating an atmosphere where positive learning can occur. 

As a communication specialist, each shift is different, and dispatchers never know what is going to be on the other end of the call. Communication specialists must be mentally prepared, skilled and ready to handle any emergency.

On October 22, 2021, Police Dispatcher Sanchez, who was training at the time, received a violent dispute call at a business involving two males, one of which was known to carry a gun. She immediately dispatched Sweetwater police officers and a minute later, received another call referencing a violent assault at the same location. The caller advised that the two males were fighting inside the business, and then left the scene in separate vehicles, with a black BMW chasing a grey Toyota Tundra. After updating the additional information to the responding officers, the backup unit, who also received the update and was still enroute to the call, advised he would canvass the area. 

A Doral police officer who was also in the area contacted Police Dispatcher Sanchez on the radio to let her know the direction the fleeing vehicles were traveling. He also informed her that shots were being fired from the vehicles. The officer then advised that the car had crashed in front of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Midwest Station, and that the truck was heading into the parking lot of the police station. 

Police Dispatcher Sanchez calmly broadcasted a request for emergency backup units to respond to the location with a summary of events and vehicle descriptions to the appropriate talk groups. She then received an emergency signal on her radio from a responding Doral police officer informing her shots had been fired, an officer was down in front of the Midwest Station and the injured officer was being transported to the local hospital. While remaining calm, Police Dispatcher Sanchez provided the additional information to responding officers, set up perimeters based on locations, requested units to block traffic, spoke with Miami-Dade Schools Police Department to lock down a school within the perimeter, and started aviation and canine units to assist. 

Following these actions, she was advised that a second officer was injured, while another officer advised they were being flagged down by a civilian who was also injured. Both the officer and civilian required medical attention, and she immediately requested Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to respond. Units then raised Police Dispatcher Sanchez and advised that the officer who had been shot needed to be transferred to an alternate hospital capable of caring for trauma incidents. With the additional information, she began supervising the coordination of responding units and the route they would be taking. With the assistance of a colleague, she contacted the Florida Highway Patrol and Miami Police Department via the Police Emergency frequency to request assistance in blocking traffic on the roadway. 

Police Dispatcher Sanchez’s quick response, calming demeanor, attention to detail, and teamwork during a stressful and constantly evolving incident is what makes her an exemplary professional and her efforts are to be commended. She embodies Miami-Dade Police Department’s core values of integrity, respect, service, and fairness. 

“Our support personnel silently contribute immensely to law enforcement officers and our community, and oftentimes their actions go unnoticed,” said Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez. “We are very proud of Dispatcher Rebeca Sanchez for earning this prestigious award. Her swift thinking and experience made a difference for all those involved. The entire Miami-Dade Police Department is honored and thankful to the Florida Sheriffs Association for recognizing the humble efforts of Dispatcher Sanchez.”

The Florida Sheriffs Association Dispatcher of the Year Award is proudly sponsored by L3 Harris Technologies. View the official award video here: https://youtu.be/W3q4ybG3Edg.

Miami-Dade Chief Christopher Carothers, FSA President and Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Rebeca Sanchez, and Steve Williams Sr. of L3Harris

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About Florida Sheriffs Association
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,000 business leaders and 100,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit www.dev.flsheriffs.org.

About L3Harris Technologies
L3Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications is a leading supplier of communications systems and equipment for public safety, federal, utility, commercial and transportation markets. The business has more than 80 years of experience in public safety and professional communications and supports more than 500 systems around the world.  Learn more at www.l3harris.com.